Most Bring-a-Trailer (BaT) watchers will tell you that you are going to sell your car on BaT at a premium price. But, that is not always the case as this 1976 Porsche 914 owner learned when he offered his car at auction.
As one BaT poster stated after the auction ended: “Seems you were a victim of the peanut gallery, not the first and won’t be the last. ... I think it depends on how you present the car and yourself and how you deal with commenter queries.”
This auction is an example of one going bad and hurting the sale (or in this case the non-sale) but as Hagerty notes in their article analyzing sale prices on BaT more often than not, the buyer is delivered a premium price selling on BaT.
The auction for this ’76 914 had 94 comments and started friendly enough but when did the trolls take over and win on this one? The second comment noted a major mistake in the listing when it stated the car had a 4-speed when 914’s are equipped with 5-speed manuals. Then four comments in a comment was flagged as “non-constructive” so the vitriol must have started early.
Early in on the comments, a major issue appeared from commentators when it was noted that the car could not be sold in California due to emission tests but yet the car was registered in California. How could this be?
The Seller noted that there are ways around the system but “the lucky buyer will learn how to 100% legally register it in California without a smog test.” This statement doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the Seller or the car.
Damage wasn’t done yet though as in the first two days the price quickly rose to $15,000 as the car looked good in a unique period lime green color. A ’76 914 at $15,000 two days into a BaT auction looked promising at this point because the price will often double in the final days/hours of a BaT auction. Even Dr914, George Hussey of Auto Atlanta weighed in stating this is a really nice car.
Not long after Dr914’s comment the comments started going downhill as TdSkip notes that “bragging on how to cheat on the required SMOF test frankly raises issues as to the veracity of anything else you say. Not Good.” The seller, sitkablu fires back: “I find your comment rude and unsolicted.”
The comments between TdSkip then go really bad as TdSkp posts a long comment on all the bad and wrong aspects of the car and the seller’s responses. Multiple responses are blocked as non-constructive between the seller an TdSkp so you can only imagine the statements they were making to each other.
This sale just went off the rails as the seller didn’t respect the format of BaT. As srallen stated: “First time I’ve seen a listing with multiple comments from THE SELLER flagged as non-constructive...” The seller’s frustration came out with the statement: “this is the first and last time I sell or buy on this site.” Though he bought this car on BaT last year for $16,000. The final bid on the car was $16,250 and the auction closed without the reserve being met.
It appears the market believes this to be a $16,000 car as was paid for it a year ago and what it was bid to this time. The seller clearly wanted to get his money back on what he put into it, but his dealing with the “peanut gallery” just wasn’t going to happen.
What can we learn from this BaT auction listing?
Providing correct information in the listing is vital – incorrect VIN, chassis # and transmission added questions on the car
Don’t imply questionable practices as your trust is eroded – stating their is a way around the emission standards in California but you won’t share it, eroded the honesty factor in the listing/sale.
Limit statements as to future appreciation/collectability. These are claims that are very difficult to substantiate and sound a little snake-oil salesman-like, once again eroding trust.
Respect the Commenters. BaT is designed to have an open forum where you are going to get comments and requests that you don’t agree, but listen and comment back respectfully. Defensive comments and trying to mix it up with commenters can only go bad as we saw with this auction.
1976 Porsche 914 on Bring-a-Trailer
Not Sold at $16,250 on October 15, 2021
Lime Green Metallic (original color) over black and green plaid
2.0-liter flat-four with five-speed manual
POR-15 coating applied to rear trunk and battery tray
Includes manufacture literature, tool roll and spare tire and wheel
Tags: Bring-a-Trailer, BaT, Porsche 914 no sale, Bad BaT sale